AMAKURA II – A Great Story
I was recently contacted by Michael Shields who relied the story below about the 1936, Colin Wild launch – Amakura II to me – its a get read – enjoy 🙂
“I spent several years on Amakura II, my step father Jim Somner, of Waipu and Somners Transport owned Amakura II for many years in Whangarei and did extensive work on her over that time, , Originally she had an open rear cabin and a single W12 engine, that is a V8 with an extra bank of 4 cylinders in the middle of the V, these same engines were used in landing craft in the second world war, this was removed and changed to twin engines very early on but if you dive down and have a look you can see where the single large prop was and where the very large prop shaft came out of the keel.
When lengthened the rear area was closed in forming a rear cabin.
She sunk during WW2 when after a few too many medicinal rums were consumed and the bow got caught under the wharf as the tide came up, water came up though the head in the bow and she sunk. Being a popular boat and crew everyone pitched in and a huge crane, called “Tiny”, was brought in and Amakura II was lifted up and cleaned up in time, before the Navy, who had heard that one of their boats had sunk came to investigate. The Navy found no evidence of any damage or sinking and everything was in order, although it was noted the rum rations were missing, having been used to pay for the help to clean her up.
She had a large machine gun mounted on her bow during the war and a photo of her in her drab paint hung in the main cabin.
During Jim Somners ownership he modernized and much altered her. He replaced the engines with twin Ford diesels which he then removed the turbos from for improved economy and also installed the custom made large fridge and freezer unit, removed the head from the bow, rejigged the shower and made the the large flying bridge which has now had the roof shortened as it used to extend almost to the rear end of the back cabin. Being a trucker, Jim was very good at getting things ship shape and working well.
I spent many years on her as crew for Jim and have many story’s of that time like when she ran around, caused the delay of the firing of guns at Waitangi Day and parties a board.”
You can read more about her history & past owners here https://waitematawoodys.com/2013/06/03/amakura-ii-2/
Michael – please send in more tales & any photos you might have. Thanks Alan.
(colour photos ex Heather Rose – b/w photo ex Ken Rickets)